Hometown Hero--Major Gerry Long - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/13/07

Hometown Hero--Major Gerry Long

Friend and fellow officer Captain Claire McCluskey pinned the new badge to Long's uniform at a promotion ceremony Wednesday. Friend and fellow officer Captain Claire McCluskey pinned the new badge to Long's uniform at a promotion ceremony Wednesday.

Likely one of the most well-known and most loved members of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department was promoted to one of the department's highest ranks. Her name is Major Gerry Long. This fine woman on the force is also this week's WTOC Hometown Hero.

Major Long is just the third woman in the history of Savannah and Chatham County to be promoted to such a high rank.

Friend and fellow officer Captain Claire McCluskey pinned the new badge to Long's uniform at a promotion ceremony Wednesday.

McCluskey said, "We've certainly come a long way, it was a very proud time."

Retired police chief David Gellatly hired Long in 1982. He said he saw Long's potential from the start.

"I didn't hire her because she was big and tough," Gellatly said. "I hired her because she was smart and courageous and had a sense of mission and fiercely loyal to law enforcement."

Long was commander of the downtown precinct for the past seven years. She's been in charge of the St. Patrick's Day festivities and the G-8 summit in 2004.

Long said, "It's like no other job you could ever have, so far, it's a good fit."

Her officers said she can handle all the big assignments, but often it's the little things that matter to her most.

Lieutenant John Best has worked side by side with Long for many years. "If someone runs up and wants to know where the best place to eat is or get directions she's willing to jump out of the car and take them, give them an escort if need be," Best said. "She loves that, the small things, helping people, helping tourists."

Gellatly said he is so proud of Long's accomplishments. He brought his 12-year-old granddaughter to the ceremony to meet her.

"She's at a point in time I want to expose her to successful strong women with strong leadership abilities," Gellatly said about his daughter. "And I have to tell you Gerry Long is the first name that came to mind and that's why we are here today."

Long takes all this praise in stride. "I would certainly not consider myself a role model but I would hope that I would have an influence on any young lady or young man not to limit themselves in what they want to do," she said.

Major Gerry Long is a leader, a lady, a law enforcement officer and today she's a WTOC Hometown Hero.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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